Pa. Senate Approves Medical Marijuana
The Pennsylvania Senate on Wednesday passed a bill permitting medical marijuana in the state — despite the objections of Gov.Tom Corbett.
Here’s what they’re saying about the event:
The Republican-controlled Senate voted 43-7 in favor of medical marijuana. The measure was championed by state senator Daylin Leach, a suburban Philadelphia Democrat.
“This is going to help people who are in desperate situations,” he said.
The chamber’s debate had been propelled by parents who believe a marijuana oil extract can help their children who suffer from seizures so debilitating that they worry about whether their child will survive another day. But proponents talked about the wider possibilities it has for treatment of other people, such as veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.
“It is cruel and heartless to deny people the best medicine that is available,” Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, said during floor debate. “And it’s time to stop treating this irrationally and saying, ‘we’re not going to let you have this, we’re going to instead make you take far more dangerous and less effective drugs.’ That’s just not how we would want to be treated; it’s not how we want our families to be treated.”
Children are at risk of death every day they can’t access a medical-marijuana oil that has been effective in treating intractable epilepsy, said Dana Ulrich, a Berks County mother whose 7-year-old daughter has been diagnosed with the condition.
But she said mothers who’ve lobbied for medical marijuana aren’t only concerned about seizures, and Wednesday’s victory was bittersweet because the bill has been amended to remove a majority of the conditions the original language would’ve allowed for treatment.
“We don’t want to give off the impression that this is a whole victory,” she said after the vote. “There are patients all over Pennsylvania who are still going to be ignored if this becomes law.”
Click here and scroll to the bottom to see a full list of which conditions will and won’t be included for legal treatment with marijuana.
Unfortunately, the bill has a ways to travel before it becomes law (which was the case back in June when a state Senate committee approved the bill in the first place but encountered opposition from many of the House GOP leaders). First it must pass through the state House, which has a limited number of days left in its current session. The bill would likely spark at least one hearing to review and vet its contents, and if it doesn’t get passed this year, it would have to be reintroduced in 2015,
Furthermore, if the bill did somehow pass the state House before the end of the year, it would still land on Governor Corbett’s desk for signature, and given his anti-cannabis stance, it could prove difficult to attract his John Hancock. Corbett would rather see a limited research pilot program first before full medical legalization is introduced.